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History 21st Century

The Sea Was in Their Blood

The Disappearance of the Miss Ally's Five-Man Crew

by (author) Quentin Casey

Nimbus Publishing
Initial publish date
Apr 2017
21st Century, Natural Disasters, History
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2017
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2017
    List Price

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Where to buy it


It was a frigid night in February 2013 when the five young fishermen vanished. The crew of the Miss Ally—a 12-metre Cape Islander from Woods Harbour, Nova Scotia—was fishing for halibut far off the Nova Scotia coast when their boat's spotlight malfunctioned. A vicious winter storm was approaching from her south, and all other boats at the fishing grounds were steaming for shore. Unable to locate his longlining gear, the Miss Ally's young captain decided to stay an extra day to retrieve the gear and, hopefully, a big catch.

Their retreat delayed, the Miss Ally crew ended up pounded by hurricane-force winds and waves well over 10 metres high. Late on February 17, the boat foundered. The five young men aboard—Katlin Nickerson, Billy Jack Hatfield, Joel Hopkins, Cole Nickerson, and Tyson Townsend—were never found.

The Sea Was in Their Blood explores two key questions: who were the men aboard the Miss Ally, and why were they battered and sunk by a storm forecasted days in advance? Through interviews with the crew's families and friends, rescue personnel, and members of the tight-knit fishing communities of Woods Harbour and Cape Sable Island, award-winning journalist Quentin Casey pieces together the tragic sinking—including important case details not previously reported—and weaves in the backstories of the Miss Ally's crew and the lingering effects of their disappearance.

A portion of the royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to various charitable causes associated with the Miss Ally.

About the author

Quentin Casey is a journalist who also holds a master's degree in Maritime Canadian history from Dalhousie University. His reporting has appeared in the Financial Post, Canadian Business magazine, and Reader's Digest. He is the author of Joshua Slocum: The Captain Who Sailed Around the World, and The Sea Was in Their Blood: The Disappearance of the Miss Ally's Five-Man Crew, which won an Atlantic Book Award for non-fiction in 2018. He lives in Mahone Bay, NS.

Quentin Casey's profile page


  • Winner, Atlantic Book Award, Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award (Non-fiction)

Editorial Reviews

"Casey, who allows the reader to get to know each and every one of the aforementioned five fishermen who tragically disappeared on February 17, 2013, provides new insight as to "why they were battered and sunk by a storm forecasted days in advance" through this thorough investigation of the matter at hand." —Linkedin: The Weekly Review

"This effectively written, dramatic examination of a tragedy that most observers would probably say didn't need to happen will be of most interest to Canadian readers, but it will also draw an audience from anyone drawn to sea disasters." —Booklist (Chicago, IL)

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